Spring can be a hectic time for gardeners but it’s undoubtedly the most exciting time as well. Early spring flowers are the surest sign warmer weather is on its way, and when you plant a spring vegetable garden, it will pay off handily later.
Before you get ready to start your spring garden, make sure your soil is packed full of nutrients that will benefit your plants. Vegetable garden soil should be a rich, brown color and easy to work with your hands. This is also a good time to remove weeds from your garden and integrate organic compost.
These vegetables are the best to plant in early spring:
- Spinach: As a super-cold, hardy leafy green, spinach can be planted in very early spring. In fact, it needs to be planted in cool weather or it will quickly seed. Spinach grows quickly, so you don’t have to wait long for it to fully grow, but that also means you have to keep planting new spinach to extend the harvest. Well-drained, rich soil is needed for spinach, but it is less particular when it comes to sunlight. Spinach can thrive in full sun to partial shade.
- Asparagus: Asparagus plants are perennial vegetables, which means you can plant them once and have harvests for years to come. They get more productive each year, and a mature harvest can last for months. They need full sun and sandy, loamy soil. Establishing asparagus with a more ground-covering, shade tolerant plant is a good way to incorporate combination planting in your garden, as well.
- Spring peas: Spring is the best time to grow peas with the warm sunny days and slightly cooler nights. Peas don’t like freezing temperatures, but dislike heat more. Partial shade is great for all peas, but soil needs vary depend on the variety.
- Lettuce: Spring’s cool, wet weather is perfect for growing lettuce. The plants may need a little protection at first from frost, but you will probably have time for two to three succession plantings. Lettuce needs partial shade and rich, amended soil.
- Rhubarb: Once established in your garden bed, you can look forward to rhubarb harvesting every spring. If you need to move your rhubarb or divide the plant, do it while the plant is young, before roots develop. Dividing the root is a great way to keep the plant healthy, too. Hardy and tenacious, rhubarb needs full sun with rich amended soil.
- Beets: Grown from seed, beets take about seven to 10 weeks to mature, but the tops can be harvested as young greens to eat while roots grow underground. Beets need potassium, so prepare the soil with manure. Seeds should be planted ½ inch deep and 1½ to 2 inches apart, which will allow them to germinate in a week to 10 days. Beets like a lot of sun and consistent moisture, so keep watering them throughout the growing season.
Cold-weather crops like salad greens, onions, cauliflower and broccoli can be planted in February, while warm-weather vegetables perform best when planted in mid or late March. One way to help decide when it’s okay to plant warm-weather vegetables is measuring soil temperatures. Those vegetables prefer a soil temperature around 60 degrees. However, beans and squash when planted from seed prefer soil temperatures closer to 70 degrees.
Vegetables aren’t the only plants that grow well in a spring garden. Once established, herbs are easy to grow and can be mostly ignored, minus a bit of watering during a very hot spring day.
Herbs that can be started from seed in the spring include:
- Fresh mint
- Lemon Balm
Finally, if you needed another reason to plant a spring garden, there are fewer insects and disease pests in early spring, so your vegetables will start off strong. But if insects do show up, you can use EARTH'S ALLY® Insect Control to safely and effectively protect the vegetables in your new garden.
For more information on what to plant in your spring garden based on where you live, visit https://www.ufseeds.com/learning/what-to-plant-now/.